Further letter from the Northwest Regional
Development Agency ("NWDA")
BBC NORTH PROJECT
In what is a crucial period for the BBC's proposed
relocation to the Manchester city region, I write to assure you
of the Northwest Regional Development Agency's (NWDA) full support
for the move. I can confirm our sister RDAs, Yorkshire Forward
and ONE North East, have also given the move their full backing.
The NWDA is working very closely with the BBC
Director General and his Project Director to develop a comprehensive
framework for the evaluation of options in advance of the critical
BBC Governors' meeting on 20 October. This is a significant milestone
and we look forward to a clear and unambiguous outcome. The NWDA
will work with BBC staff to ensure a focussed and effective evaluation
process for each of the proposed sites. It is crucial that we
make swift progress in securing the most imaginative, deliverable,
cost effective and beneficial proposal with a definitive timetable
The media sector in Manchester and the Northwest
has the potential to be world class. As well as being home to
ITV Granada, there is a range of key independent media operators,
excellent production facilities and creative talent that the BBC
will benefit from. The Northwest is the largest centre of out-of-London
production in the country, with a vibrant mix of programming in
all production categories. I firmly believe that the vitality
and innovation of the Northwest's media and creative industries
will be enormously boosted by the presence of the BBC and its
important role in commissioning programmes and other services.
The development of a strengthened BBC presence
in the Manchester city region is also hugely important to our
economy and employment opportunities. Through our current intensive
work with the BBC and other local partners, we believe that the
economic benefits resulting from the BBC relocation will be maximised
through the complementary development of a "media enterprise
zone". This approach would enable the physical accommodation
of the BBC together with a range of shared or complementary services.
It is expected to create an additional 4,400 jobs in total and
add a further £1.5 billion GVA to the regional economy over
10 years, providing a catalyst for further growth of the media
sector. This clearly resonates with your own goal of maximising
the contribution that the creative industries can make to the
The benefits do not end with the Manchester
city region. There will also be benefits throughout the North
via the BBC's proposed increase in external commissioning of services.
This is critical to the further cultural development of the whole
of the North of England as well as the successful implementation
of the Northern Way. In total, the BBC Manchester move involves
£225 million worth of production spend and a further £50
million commissioning spend annually. This offers real added value
in terms of stimulating sector development.
We have an unprecedented opportunity to deliver
a genuine step change in economic performance within the North.
We must not let this opportunity falter.
It is for these reasons that the NWDA will continue
to press for a swift decision on the BBC's relocation. The Agency
and its public sector partners have committed, in principle, to
support this venture with an investment of around £50 million.
I trust that I can rely on your support for this crucial relocation
in the weeks and months to come.
13 October 2005